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60 per cent of students training to be maths teachers in secondary believe that most pupils do not understand what the subject is about

* Around 60 per cent of students training to be maths teachers in secondary believe that most pupils do not understand what the subject is about, according to a recent survey by Professor Macnab. Some 46 per cent thought that most pupils cannot be expected to like maths and 43 per cent thought that it was very hard for most pupils.

But among young primary teachers, the equivalent figures were 12 per cent, 20 per cent and 24 per cent. He puts this down to the essentially child-centred approach in primary and the more subject-oriented approach in secondary.

A study by the professor in 1999 also showed that nearly half (49 per cent) of 393 S2 pupils ranked maths down the popularity list.

"Attitudes and practice in mathematics teaching: the views of some probationer teachers in Scottish primary schools" is by Donald Macnab at Aberdeen University. His paper was recently presented to the Scottish Educational Research Association conference in Perth.

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